January’s column discussed the importance of inspiring volunteers. Thank you, readers who said that they are now inspired to inspire volunteers.
Money is another annual nonprofit agenda because if the funds are thin, the nonprofit’s mission is compromised.
Donation doomsday headlines, like “The GOP tax reform will devastate charitable giving” and the Council on Foundations predicting that the new tax law “… will drain $16 billion to $24 billion a year from the nonprofit sector going forward,” are enough to make a fundraiser chair switch jobs and volunteer for event tear-down duties instead.
Furthermore, darkening the future of fundraising is a collective desensitization to the parade of floods, fires, earthquakes and hurricanes. Emotional exhaustion is a natural response to an endless quest to help fund disaster relief, refugee issues, world hunger, and combating disease. And while large nonprofits based in metropolitan regions tackle the big catastrophes, hometown nonprofits are vulnerable to the trickle-down effect of tragedy and need.
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The good news is there are ways that a small, local nonprofit can pick up the pieces and achieve its mission by implementing different ways to inspire donors.
And for California nonprofits, according to a study just released by Philanthropy Today, the biggest charitable donors are Californians, who give to California nonprofits or foundations. These big donors are mainly tech billionaires based in California.
But before you send your plea to one of California’s high-achievers, they favor foundations, colleges and universities, and medical centers. Don’t despair yet because environment, health, public affairs, sports and animals still made the top grade for big donations.
Review your nonprofit’s website
Now if you seek money from one of the big tech donors, and any donor for that matter, be sure your nonprofit’s website, donor page, and social media efforts are up to 2018 standards. Can your webpage adapt to mobile phones and tablets? If not, it’s time to upgrade the website. Mobile giving increases by about 21 percent a year, according to a 2017 report.
Does your website have compelling photos and language that will keep donors scrolling through your website?
Your donation button. Is it easy to find? How secure is your donation page? Illustrate with your security system’s logo.
The point with mobile online donation is to simplify navigation to your donation page. Some of the best models for compelling, simple, and easy/fast donations include charitywater.org and autismspeaks.org.
Apply psychology to your plea
Applying psychology to your fundraising efforts is smart. This gets heady, so hang on.
Compassion fatigue builds when a charity calls for financial help for numerous people or needs. ”… Affective feelings driven by attention may underlie findings that, when it comes to eliciting compassion, a single individual with a face and a name typically evokes a stronger response than a group. Numerous studies have demonstrated the identifiable victim effect, which is also quite evident outside the laboratory. People are much more willing to aid one identified individual than to help numerous unidentified or statistical victims,” wrote the authors of a study, “Compassion Fade: Affect and Charity Are Greatest for a Single Child in Need.”
We witness this right here when locals put together a drive-thru spaghetti dinner for a family or person who could use big-time help. These drives appear to generate success — and they’re not complicated 501(c) 3 nonprofits geared to benefit a plethora of issues. I know that when I send Spouse to pick up two $10 dinners at the Vets Hall to benefit a local cancer patient, and that the food, serving ware, and preparation is all done on a volunteer basis, my $20 will definitely benefit the singular reason for all of this effort. Secondly, I get something for my $20.
It’s simple, easy, and makes us feel good by giving.
The message I’ve garnered from other sources is that when you send out your plea for donations, make it a shared goal. “Let’s save a life together,” or “Sometimes, one community needs to come forward and support a common goal.”
Dr. Summer Allen, author of “Ten Ways to Encourage People to Give More,” wrote, “People are more willing to give when they see generosity as part of who they are.”
If your nonprofit has a weak to zero presence on social media, there’s a big red stop sign in front of your fundraising drive.
“Convio recently audited 700 charities across the globe and 93.7 percent of those raised more online revenue. … Social media can drive visitors to an online donation page, directly via a request for funds or indirectly, when a user sees a trusted member of their network donating,” (Source: Fourth Source).
In what may be a challenged giving environment this year, your nonprofit may get a leg up on others by bringing the website up to date, applying psychology to your pleas, and using social media to your benefit, and then you laugh in the face of doomsday headlines about the future of charitable giving.
Charmaine Coimbra’s column appears the fourth Thursday of each month and is special to The Cambrian.